What is a notice of intention to marry?
Commonly referred to as a fiancé visa, the correct name is a prospective marriage visa. Fundamental to a prospective marriage visa is that the applicant and sponsor must have a genuine intention to get married in the future. The sponsor must be either an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen.
Does that mean I have to get married?
When an applicant lodges their prospective marriage visa, they should also lodge what is known as a notice of intention to marry (NOIM). This is the required evidence that the applicant and sponsor have a genuine intention to marry in the future.
If the applicant does not have the notice of intention to marry, then it is acceptable to lodge with the application a letter from an authorised marriage celebrant. The letter should confirm the date and venue for the wedding and whether in fact a NOIM has already been lodged.
It is important to keep in mind that a NOIM must not be lodged less than one month before the proposed date of marriage, or more than 18 months before the date of proposed marriage.
If a NOIM has not been lodged at the time of application, then the marriage must take place within six months of the date of the marriage celebrant’s letter.
Finding a marriage celebrant
Once the visa is granted, then the applicant has 9 months in which he or she must travel to Australia to marry their sponsor. If this does not occur the applicant would have breached a condition of their prospective marriage visa.
Although a notice of intention to marry or at the very least a letter from a marriage celebrant stating the date and venue of the proposed wedding is good evidence of the applicant and sponsors intention to marry in the future, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in some cases may require further supporting evidence to assess the genuineness of the applicant and sponsors intention to marry.
This may even include the applicant and sponsor being interviewed to assess their genuineness.